The holidays can be a time for happiness, laughter and celebration. We celebrate those we love and rejoice in the spirit of giving. When the days grow darker, it seems as though our souls grow a bit brighter. What a wonderful time of year for families, regardless of their faith.
The holiday season is not always free from dangers, however.
For older adults recovering from an illness or at risk of new health problems, there is always the danger of too much of a good thing.
According to senior care experts, there are many ways our aging loved ones can go overboard in ways that can have serious consequences. Here are a few warnings from Home Instead Center for Successful Aging Social Worker Diane. K. Hendricks, MA, MSW, and Wellness Manager Jeannine Hannan, MS, Ph.D.
Too Much Activity. Some conditions of aging, such as dementia, can cause agitation in older adults. Tune into the amount of activity that surrounds a senior during the holidays and adapt as necessary.
Too Many Unrealistic Expectations. Families often function best when they are following traditional roles at the holidays. But that isn't always realistic. If your senior has suffered a health decline, she may not be up to that family get-together. Try to get family members on board to set realistic expectations.
Too Much Noise. Hearing impairment can make it difficult to understand conversations. If you're hosting a holiday party, take Grandpa into a quiet room and ask family to visit him individually so that he can get the most from conversations.
Too Much Sugar. Many older adults are diabetic or living with restricted food plans. Sugar is a big holiday food culprit, so try always to offer healthy alternatives such as plenty of vegetables and sugar-free desserts.
Too Many Visitors. Seniors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia could react negatively to the presence of too many people. Take care not to turn a positive holiday party into a negative event for the older loved one in the family by subjecting your senior to too many visitors.
Too Much Stress. Becoming overwhelmed during the holidays isn't good for anyone, least of all seniors. Respite caregiving from a friend or Home Instead CAREGiverSM can help a senior feel more secure.
Too Many Memories. While most seniors enjoy reminiscing and discussing the old days, be careful what memories you share. If there's; been a recent death in the family, the emotional wounds may be too fresh.
These warnings are not intended to put a damper on your festive cheer. They are simply issues to be aware of when it comes to your aging loved one. In a season where family means the most, don't forget that it's the entire family that needs your attention.
Most of all, have a wonderful holiday season!
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